In a visit from the goon squad Jennifer Egan explores much on the switchbacks of her character's trail. There is a lot going on, with converging reminiscence, as pretty much everyone stands bloodied by life. There is the terror of setting out, and the sting of betrayal when one ill conceived dream or another falls away. The ghosts haunt and stalk. Jennifer Egan is a terrific writer, who creatively plays with contraction or projection of story lines that is really satisfying.
"Charlie doesn't know herself. In four years from now, at eighteen, she'll join a cult across the border in Mexico who charismatic leader promotes a diet of raw eggs; she'll nearly die from salmonella poisoning before Lou rescues her. A cocaine habit will require the partial reconstruction of her nose, changing her appearance, and a series of feckless, domineering men will leave her solitary in her late twenties, trying to broker peace between Rolph and Lou who have stopped speaking".
At the point of these disclosed prophesying she does not abandon the character and these glimpses actually made me empathize more deeply with them as the marched into the clobber of the goon. Extraordinarily sad and humane.
Check out Egan speaking with Elenaor Wachtel on writing, and on a visit from the good squad.